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January 2013 Book Challenge!

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 

So, just by way of clarification (for comers both new and old), guidelines for the Book Challenge Thread are as follows:

1) Post the books you read ... or not
2) Post a recommendation ... or not
3) Number your book ... or not
4) Make a goal for how many books you want to read in 2012 ... or not
5) Have fun with books (This one, unfortunately, is MANDATORY)




Happy New Year folks!  Hope your 2012 was awesome and wishing you the best in 2013!! 


I'm going to make a goal for myself again this year. Last year my goal was 75, but I only got to 52.  I'm going to try 75 again anyway.  What the heck right?

post #2 of 49

Happy New Year!


My goal for the year is 52.  This is the first time I've really set a goal, so I'm crossing my fingers that I stick with it. :-) 

post #3 of 49

HI- joining.  I have no idea what my time is going to look like this year but I have a goal of 'reading'.

2012 had me end up with 32 in October. 99% of those were library books or nookbooks.  Same goal this year. (no new book purchases)

post #4 of 49

Hello all!


I've got some rules about my reading.  I like to read non-fiction most of all, but I've been forcing myself to just go wild and read fiction, and I've decided that reading or re-reading classics is a must as well.


So this month I've already re-read Death of a Salesman and some criticisms of said work.  I will admit I only read Miller's self-criticisms, because I am usually pretty annoyed by criticisms of literature in general.


I'm currently reading a collection of short stories by Dick.  It's awesome.

post #5 of 49
Thread Starter 

Welcome new faces!  Hello to familiar ones!  love.gif


I'm in the middle of two books right now, Suttree by Cormac McCarthy and Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey.  Suttree is a little slow going, which surprises me because I usually tear through Cormac McCarthy books.  The Downton Abbey one is fascinating.  Love that stuff!

post #6 of 49



We took a little time off around Christmas/New Year's and so had time to read two books:


* In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson about the Dodds, the family of the first U.S. ambassador to Hitler's Germany. A fascinating book that provides a lot of detail about the everyday life of the family (mainly the father, who was the ambassador, and his adult daughter, who was quite a character) as well as Dodd's politics and position in the diplomatic corps. Today, I incidentally heard about and watched a short documentary about the Hotel Adlon, which features in the book here and there (in German on the website of the German TV station ZDF, if any of you are German speakers - also interesting).


* The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal by Jonathan Mooney. One Amazon review I read said this book was maybe not executed that well & was a bit "whiny." I agree, although it brought up some interesting issues I am still thinking about.


I won't be setting a goal for my reading. I decided not to do goals or resolutions in 2013, but instead to change circumstances (cut cable, sign up for exercise class, limit time on certain sites online, use my new blender to make yummy smoothies smile.gif) to facilitate health - more reading and hobbies/less TV, more healthy eating, more exercise. Basically working on creating/maintaining habits instead of meeting particular milestones.


Happy reading!

post #7 of 49

Black Magic Sanction, Harrison


Rachel Morgan has fought and hunted vampires, werewolves, banshees, demons, and other supernatural dangers as both witch and bounty hunter—and lived to tell the tale. But she's never faced off against her own kind . . . until now. Denounced and shunned for dealing with demons and black magic, her best hope is life imprisonment—at worst, a forced lobotomy and genetic slavery. Only her enemies are strong enough to help her win her freedom, but trust comes hard when it hinges on the unscrupulous tycoon Trent Kalamack, the demon Algaliarept, and an ex-boyfriend turned thief.



fast-paced 8th installment in the Rachel Morgan series.


Kingdom Keepers 5: Shell Game


The Disney Dream leaves Port Canaveral on an historic cruise to Los Angeles with a special treat in store for guests: the Disney Host Interactive guides are on board. Finn, Maybeck, Charlene, Willa, and Philby join guests as the DHI experience moves to one of the most advanced cruise ships in the world.

But all is not right below decks. Strange things are happening. Only the Kingdom Keepers know the truth behind their invitation to be in attendance: nearly every Disney villain is aboard the ship, including Maleficent. The Overtakers have infiltrated the cast and crew. And no oneknows what they have planned.

The Dream sets sail filled with enthusiastic guests and crew. But not for long. Maleficent takes over a video screen and warns the guests of trouble to come. With the ship arriving to the beaches of Castaway Cay--its first of many exotic ports of call--the Kingdom Keepers are under attack; back home the Base is threatened and about to fall. The Overtakers have expanded in ways never foreseen, and it's clear they intend to use this element of surprise to accomplish what has eluded them so far: victory.


I was disappointed in book 4.  But my son has recently gotten into the series, so I figured I needed to stay ahead of him.  This book is back to the quality of the earler installments in the series, and the characters, as young high schoolers, are becoming more developed and independent.


The Illumination, Brockmeier


What if our pain was the most beautiful thing about us?

At 8:17 on a Friday night, the Illumination begins. Every wound begins to shine, every bruise to glow and shimmer. And in the aftermath of a fatal car accident, a journal of love notes, written by a husband to his wife, passes into the keeping of Carol Ann Page, and from there through the hands of five other people—a photojournalist, a schoolchild, a missionary, a writer, and a street vendor. As their stories unfold, we come to understand how intricately and brilliantly they are connected, in all their human injury and experience. With the artistry and imagination that have become his trademark, Kevin Brockmeier reveals a world that only he could imagine, casting his gaze on the wounds we bear and the light that radiates from us all.



The ideas in this book are fascinating and the writing is lovely and compelling.  It's more like a collection of short stories around the same theme, rather than a novel with one driving plot however.



#1 Black Magic Sanction, #2 Kingdom Keepers Shell Game, #3 The Illumination, #4 Night Strangers, #5 Punkzilla, #6 The Last Good Man, #7 Book of Lost Fragrances, #8 Passager, #9 The Orphan Master's Son, #10 Caleb's Crossing, #11 Pale Demon, #12 Antifragile, #13 A Perfect Blood, #14 The Twelve, #15 Ella Enchanted, #16 Heart Shaped Box, #17 The Woman Who Died a Lot, #18 Beekeeper's Apprentice, #19 Midwife's Confession, #20 A king of Infinite Space, #21 Percival's Planet, #22 When the Killing's Done, #23 The Great Mysteries, #24 Stardust, #25 Sandcastle Girls, #26 Iced, #27 Mere Christianity, #28 A Good Man is Hard to Find, #29 Girl Hunter, #30 Inferno, #31 One Crazy Summer, #32 Giving Up the Ghost, #33 Wonder, #34 The Last Policeman, #35 Plain Kate, #26 Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, #37 Ever After, #38 The Reckoning, #39 On the Jellicoe Road, #40 Unnatural Creatures, #41 Poison Tree, #42 Faith, #43 Blood of the Prodigal, #44 Flight Behavior, #45 The Good House, #46 Little Wolves, #47 The Golem and the Jenni, #48 Casual Vacancy, #49 The City and the City. #50 Ocean at the End of the Lane, #51 My Life with the Saints, #52 Repossessed, #53 The Long Song, #54 Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, #55 Season of the Harvest, #56 The Night Guest, #57 Dare Me, #58 Allegient, #59 Red Leaves

Edited by kofduke - 11/22/13 at 3:51am
post #8 of 49

I'm off to a better start in 2013 than 2012. I finished Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, which I started in December. Today I finished reading Cinderella Ate My Daughter, by Peggy Orenstein. 


Up next is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.


My goal for the year is 40 books, much lower than previous years, but higher than 2012. 

post #9 of 49

Happy 2013! My reading goal for this year is 35 books. 


1. Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy by Christopher Hayes

post #10 of 49
Originally Posted by mrsmischief View Post

Happy 2013! My reading goal for this year is 35 books. 


1. Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy by Christopher Hayes


How awful is it that I saw Twilight, and immediately thought vampires? OMG, I've drunk the Kool-Aid! blush.gif

post #11 of 49
Originally Posted by nyssaneala View Post


How awful is it that I saw Twilight, and immediately thought vampires? OMG, I've drunk the Kool-Aid! blush.gif




lol.gif You aren't the only one. I mentioned this book on my FB and a friend expressed her surprise I was reading Twilight before reading further. ha! 

post #12 of 49
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by nyssaneala View Post

I'm off to a better start in 2013 than 2012. I finished Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, which I started in December. Today I finished reading Cinderella Ate My Daughter, by Peggy Orenstein. 


Up next is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.


My goal for the year is 40 books, much lower than previous years, but higher than 2012. 


Oh, I love Diana Gabaldon!  Her books are so juicy and I like that they are extra long, so you can really get into the story and the characters.  Both of your other books are on my to-read list.



I have my first book! 


#1  Lady Almina and The Real Downtown Abbey

A non-fiction book about Highclere Castle, where Downtown Abbey is set.  The author is the current Duchess of Carnarvon and she recounts the history of the family at the castle starting around the end of the 1800's.  Interesting.  There was a lot of time spent on WWI, which ended up skimming through towards the end.  Overall pretty fascinating though!

post #13 of 49

Punkzilla, Rapp


For a runaway boy who goes by the name "Punkzilla," kicking a meth habit and a life of petty crime in Portland, Oregon, is a prelude to a mission: reconnecting with his older brother, a gay man dying of cancer in Memphis. Against a backdrop of seedy motels, dicey bus stations, and hitched rides, the desperate fourteen-year-old meets a colorful, sometimes dangerous cast of characters. And in letters to his sibling, he catalogs them all — from an abusive stranger and a ghostly girl to a kind transsexual and an old woman with an oozing eye. The language is raw and revealing, crackling with visceral details and dark humor, yet with each interstate exit Punkzilla’s journey grows more urgent: will he make it to Tennessee in time? This daring novel offers a narrative worthy of Kerouac and a keen insight into the power of chance encounters.


I appreciate a good, gritty novel.  And this one spoke many truths with great honesty.  However, I felt that some of it went too far -- meant only to shock rather than to advance the character.  Still, I'm glad I read it.



Night Strangers, Bohjalian

In a dusty corner of a basement in a rambling Victorian house in northern New Hampshire, a door has long been sealed shut with 39 six-inch-long carriage bolts. 
The home's new owners are Chip and Emily Linton and their twin ten-year-old daughters. Together they hope to rebuild their lives there after Chip, an airline pilot, has to ditch his 70-seat regional jet in Lake Champlain after double engine failure. Unlike the Miracle on the Hudson, however, most of the passengers aboard Flight 1611 die on impact or drown. The body count? Thirty-nine – a coincidence not lost on Chip when he discovers the number of bolts in that basement door. Meanwhile, Emily finds herself wondering about the women in this sparsely populated White Mountain village – self-proclaimed herbalists – and their interest in her fifth-grade daughters. Are the women mad? Or is it her husband, in the wake of the tragedy, whose grip on sanity has become desperately tenuous? 



I liked this one a lot...and the ending, while shocking, is appropriate considering the tone of the book.

post #14 of 49

1. The Fire by Katherine Neville


This is the sequel to The Eight, which is a must read to fully understand the underlying story.  Both are decent reads, though the ending of The Fire falls a little flat compared to its predecessor. 


2.  My Happy Days in Hollywood by Garry Marshall


A lovely, light-hearted read by a leading man in Hollywood.

post #15 of 49

2. The Millionaire Next Door 

3. War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges

post #16 of 49
Originally Posted by kofduke



Night Strangers, Bohjalian



I liked this one a lot...and the ending, while shocking, is appropriate considering the tone of the book.


I have this in my To-Read list, so happy to read a positive review.


Have you read his book, The Sandcastle Girls?  It's one of my favorites. 

post #17 of 49

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn



WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.


NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.


HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.


Dark Places by Gillian Flynn



I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.


Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.


As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.


Really enjoyed both books... dark, gritty and a good amount disturbing.  Gillian Flynn is also good with surprising, unexpected endings.  Additionally, all of her characters are well-written and I find myself liking them more than I expect, especially the more unsavory characters. 

post #18 of 49

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker



“It still amazes me how little we really knew. . . . Maybe everything that happened to me and my family had nothing at all to do with the slowing. It’s possible, I guess. But I doubt it. I doubt it very much.”


On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.


I know this is a very popular, well-like book, but I couldn't even finish it... and I was listening to it on audiobook.  I found it so boring that I had a difficult time staying awake while driving and there was not a single character that I cared enough about to want to finish the story or try again with a book copy.  greensad.gif  

post #19 of 49

Every Day by David Levithan



Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.


There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.


It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.



I stillheart.gifstillheart.gifstillheart.gifstillheart.gif David Levithan.  He is one of my favorite YA novelist, along with John Green.  This book was great.  The story idea was so unique and different, I wasn't sure how he would be able to pull it off, but he did and enjoyed the ride.   



The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater



"There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve," Neeve said. "Either you're his true love . . . or you killed him."

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.  Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them-not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.  His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.  But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He has it all-family money, good looks, devoted friends-but he's looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys.


I actually read this book in the end of last year, but was so in love love.gif with it that I decided to listen to it on audiobook, especially when I learned that actor Will Patton was doing the reading.  Finished the audiobook and I love it even more.  Will Patton did an amazing job on the Audiobook and just brought the book (especially the voices of the characters) even more alive for me.   

post #20 of 49

3. Hidden Things by Doyce Testerman



Watch out for the hidden things...  That's the last thing Calliope Jenkins's best friend says to her before ending a two am phone call from Iowa, where he's been working a case she knows little about.  Seven hours later, she gets a visit from the police.  Josh has been found dead, and foul play is suspected.  Calliope is stunned.  Especially since Josh left a message on her phone an hour after his body was found.  Spurred by grief and suspicion, Calli heads to Iowa herself, accompanied by a stranger who claims to know something about what happened to Josh and who can - maybe - help her get him back. But the road home is not quite the straight shot she imagined...


I have to admit, the description on the back cover is why I took this book home from the library.  It was a quick read for 323 pages, yet there was a lot of grouchy meandering at the beginning.  The story seems to expand and contract at times, and it reminds me of the Talisman in a strange small way as it is essentially a paranormal roadtrip.  I may have to read it again though to truly get this story, if that's even possible.  The point is, I'm left with even the smallest desire to read it again because I'm hoping I missed something.  Not bad, but not great either.

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